SlideShare is a slide hosting service, acquired by LinkedIn in 2012. It allows users to upload files (PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote, or OpenDocument presentations) either privately or publicly. The slide decks can then be viewed on the site itself or can be embedded on other sites. Just as YouTube allows users to upload and share videos, SlideShare allows users to upload and share slideshows.
Although the site was originally intended for businesses to share slides amongst employees, it has expanded and now hosts a huge number of slideshows which have been uploaded for anybody to view.
And a lot of people do view them. In fact, SlideShare has 60 million users, hosts over 18 million pieces of content, and gets 159 million monthly page views.
Even so, SlideShare is currently only used by around 17 percent of B2B marketers. Most social media marketers focus their efforts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, andLinkedIn. And, of course, a good presence on all of these platforms is essential to a good social media marketing campaign. But many should perhaps consider SlideShare, too.
In fact, because so few marketers consistently upload content to SlideShare, there’s a lot less competition on the platform. This means that your content will have more chance of getting seen on SlideShare than on more popular platforms. So long as you create a valuable, aesthetically pleasing presentation, there’s no reason why you can’t expect your content to get hundreds or thousands of views almost immediately.
Here are some of the benefits of using SlideShare:
- Using SlideShare means you won’t have to worry about hosting content on your own site since you can just embed content from SlideShare. A far more practical and less time-consuming process.
- Using SlideShare means you will be able to tap into the large number of SlideShare visitors and raise your own profile.
- Using SlideShare is low cost, since there is both a free account option and the option to go pro.
- Using SlideShare is easy, since most people are already familiar with PowerPoint and so are able to generate content relatively quickly.
- Using SlideShare will allow you to grow your brand and is perhaps the platform which can best accommodate more detailed and in-depth content – i.e., content that may not be appropriate for sharing on other social channels.
So, SlideShare is great. Yes. But how do you go about creating a good presentation?
1. Design, Design, Design
SlideShare’s users expect high-quality content. Meet this requirement, and you can expect to be rewarded by clicks and shares. Ignore it and prepare to watch your content sit around not doing an awful lot.
SlideShare itself has written about what makes for a well-designed presentation. In short, presentations should:
- Not use overwhelming background images, since this can make text hard to read. Instead, use a light-coloured, subtle background so that people can read what you have to say clearly.
- Not centre-align all text and images, since this can create a chaotic, disjointed effect. Rather, only align some of your text centrally. Move supporting text to the left for a more balanced look.
- Not consist of only one font size. Draw attention to the more important parts (words or sentences) of your slide with larger fonts and use smaller fonts for less important information of a slide.
- Not overuse drop shadows. Drop shadows, especially thin, dark shadows against a white background, look blurry and cluttered. If you need to use a drop shadow, only ever use it on the header (never the body).
- Not use poor quality images. Nothing looks as unprofessional as a poor quality or low resolution image. If you want to use an image for the background, make sure it is in the 1000 pixels size range. Anything smaller should only be used as part of a slide, never a background.
- Not use tacky or cheap fonts. Fonts which appear childish or tawdry will put viewers off instantly (I’m looking at you, Comic Sans). But this doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with fonts. There are some great ideas for font combinations here.
2. Use Keywords to Rank Higher
No surprises here. Like any content, using keywords will improve your contents’ internal and external search ranking. This means your presentation should contain common relevant search phrases, as well as certain important words.
You should also include your keyword or phrase in the title and description or your presentation, as well as in tags. And make sure that you use a keyword as a file name when you save your content to the site.
SlideShare presentations already rank pretty well in Google. Making sure yours is keyword-optimised will give you the best possible chance of getting spotted.
3. Make it Valuable
It can be tempting to create slideshows that harp on about how great you or your product/service is. But generally such presentations do not perform very well.
Like any good content, your slideshows have to give readers valuable industry information. This may be the results of a survey, a summary of a whitepaper, speculative industry insights, or market reports.
Whatever information you choose to use as the basis of your presentation should be relevant to your target audience and give them insights and information they haven’t seen before and can’t get elsewhere.
If you can consistently deliver such information, your SlideShare account will take off big time.
4. Share Presentations Elsewhere
If you’re just starting out on SlideShare, a great way to drive initial traffic to your content is to direct it from other social channels.
Of course, LinkedIn is a safe bet, since the content you’re likely to be sharing will be detailed and in-depth information on SlideShare, and such information will go down best with professionals.
The best way to do this is to post the presentation to LinkedIn (easy, since the two platforms are well integrated) and then share it as a status update from your personal account, your employees’ personal accounts, and your company page. It’s also possible to add SlideShare content to your LinkedIn profile’s summary page.
And other social platforms can do their part too. There’s no reason why you can’t post your slideshow to Facebook and Twitter. It might not perform as well here as on LinkedIn, but all traffic is good traffic.
SlideShare is a great opportunity for social media marketers. But in order to make the most of the platform, you will need to take the time to create high-quality content. To do this, you will need an effective content strategy and a good content calendar.
And you’d better move quickly. As I say, SlideShare is still a relatively untapped resource. But it’s not likely to stay that way for long…
Are you using SlideShare? Or are you considering doing so? Let us know what you’re doing on the platform or why you want to get started with it.